In less than two years, the New Horizons space probe is going to go whizzing by an object a billion miles further away from us than Pluto at speeds of up to 30,000 miles per hour. We know generally where that object—MU69, a cold dark object in the Kuiper Belt—will be thanks to telescope observations, otherwise we wouldn't be able to rendezvous with it at all, but like a blind date, we're not 100 percent sure what to expect. Details like the shape, exact size, color of the object and even if it has close neighbors all remain elusive.
I did not throw up. When I tell people that I've ridden in a zero-g plane, invariably they ask, propriety be damned, if I threw up. So, it's best to address that aspect of zero-g straight away. Though I dutifully stick the company issued barf bag in my flight suit's pocket—just in case—my stomach's contents remain my stomach's contents through the many 30-to-40 second cycles of less than Earth's gravity. Five other fliers—all men—are significantly less fortunate.
If humans are ever really going to make it to Mars, we're going to need a bigger boat. Today's spaceships are built for short hauls to and from the International Space Station, a mere six or so hours away. These ships, like the Russian Soyuz, SpaceX's Dragon, NASA's upcoming Orion capsule, are small, cramped, and they don't have bathrooms or sleeping quarters.
NASA is forever linked to space, a plucky government agency bravely hurtling people and robots into the great beyond. Yet the agency has always had as much of an earth-bound mission as an outer space one. The “Aeronautics” at NASA may get short shrift, but with 300 videos of archival aviation tests released online this week, there's plenty of airborne excitement waiting for viewers.